How to Love Yourself

Sometimes I come at life from the wrong angle, especially when it comes to taking care of myself, and I’m sure many of you can relate! This is partly why exercising regularly, for example, is difficult for me. Instead of thinking “I love and respect my body enough to take care of it” and viewing exercise as a way to love myself, I think “I had better get out there and run or I’m a failure at life.” Like I said, the wrong angle. And I have to remind myself of this often.

So! Reminding myself and you, here are some ways to love yourself, respect yourself, and treat yourself well. We’re worth it. ❤ ❤ ❤

  1. drink more water! the cells in your bod will thank you.
  2. exercise more! but make it fun (dancing, playing a sport). endorphins = yay.
  3. eat well! love yourself enough to only put good things into your body, not low-key poison (MSG, anyone).
  4. connect with nature! give your cells some vit-D, give your lungs some fresh air, and remind yourself that you’re a human being with a soul, not a robot. be outside and listen to the trees and the wind and the birds.
  5. do fun things for the sake of them! not everything has to have a point. color because you like coloring. bake because you like baking. garden because you like gardening.
  6. know your self-care things! maybe it’s sitting down for half an hour with herbal tea and a magazine. maybe it’s knitting. maybe it’s making soap. it doesn’t really matter what it is-just figure it out and then do it daily. you deserve to be taken care of, and who better to take care of you than you?
  7. get more/better sleep! there are several things you can do to improve your sleep quality, and beyond that, make sure you’re sleeping enough. don’t skimp on sleep for anything. the rule of thumb is, the more stressed and busy you are, the more important sleep becomes.
  8. eliminate the bad stuff! take a look at who you spend the most time with, and what you spend the most time reading or thinking about. I’m not saying be in denial, I’m just saying that you’re no one’s trash can. don’t allow yourself to be one. you. deserve. more.

Do you have any other self-love or self-care tips?

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A Locked Garden

I quieten my heart. I listen. To the sound the silence makes when you are truly listening; to the thoughts in my own soul that so often get lost in the whirl of the days. To the Voice that speaks the loving truth. I guard the place where we meet. The deep place within me where only God and I walk together.

The secret place. The deep place. The place where quiet is a song and peace is the harmonizing tune. The living place. The place where the Gardener plants dreams like seeds and waters them with love and I water them with faith, and we watch them flourish, grow, and change. The fresh scent of spring and the promise that it brings wafts from the secret place; a change from the inside out, sustainable and true.

A garden enclosed, where my Maker and I alone may walk.

I quieten my heart. Out of the quiet comes songs, comes life, comes peace, comes refreshing. The Still Small Voice whispers peace into my soul. I worship Him. And together we walk.

I Will Overcome

It is a heart wrenching fact of life, fact of life, that nothing new can come without something old passing away first. And in many cases, it is not simply taking off old clothes and putting new ones on. A part of your flesh must be torn out, a part of the structure of a building must be demolished, a page must be ripped out before a new one can be pasted in.

 

Without change we would not be human. We would not be happy. We would not be alive. Change is good. But when it happens, it is like a surgery, but one where all the anaesthetic has run out, and all you have to keep the pain at bay is half a shot of morphine and whatever you’re biting down on between your teeth.  After, change is good. After, change is adventurous. After, it is easy to say, “Look where we were, and look where we are now. Aren’t we glad to have come this far?” But while it is happening, change hurts more than anything.

 

Change is ruthless. It is like a train without brakes. It does not stop or slow down so you can catch your breath first; it has no mercy for you, regardless of whether you are tired, or fed up, or grieving, or in pain already; regardless of whether or not you have recovered from the last train, this train surges forward, and it comes, ready or not.

 

I have no control. There is nothing to hold onto. I am not standing; God is holding me up. He is all the anchor I have, and sometimes I cannot see into the darkness ahead and below and above me. Sometimes all there is, all I can see, is the darkness, like a night without stars, and I only know He is there because I have to know it to move forward, or else cower in fear. Sometimes fear is the darkness and the darkness is fear, and He is my shield against it.

 

I do not know the future. I do not know tomorrow. I know this moment, this minute, this second. I know I am breathing. I know I am home and with my family, in this moment, with my cat lying beside me and my room a mess because I have enough clothes and books to make it a mess. I know I am healthy, in this moment – I know I can run, if I have to, and I can dance, if music plays. There is a hope deep somewhere in me that does not come from me, because on my own I can have no hope. But this hope, and this love, and this joy, is deep in me, and because it does not come from me I can trust it. I can trust Him.

 

This light is not from me. This is light of another kind. Darkness must always run away from light, but this is a light that the darkness doesn’t even understand. This light is like nothing else the darkness has ever seen. The darkness cannot understand it. It flees not only in fear but in chaos, in confusion; it cannot understand this light that burns with such loving, fearful might. He is the light, and the light is in me. I will walk in the light, as He is in the light, and then, although I cannot see ahead or above or below, I will know that I am walking on a road that has already been prepared. He is behind me and before me, and He has made the darkness His own covering, and so I do not fear it. I am not afraid. I will walk on, and I will overcome, by the blood of the Lamb.

My Heart in Pieces

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There is something so profound and deeply sorrowful about coming face to face with yourself. When God puts a mirror in front of you, it’s never condemning, but it is heartbreaking. With the most lovingly spoken words he breaks us – not to tear us down, but so that he can build something new in place of the old. He is the Restorer, the Renewer, the Builder, the Maker. When he convicts us and lets us see, bit by bit, our sins and shortcomings and areas-to-be-worked-on, he does it with love. There is no condemnation in his gentle revelation, no judgment or guilt tripping. But that, of course, makes it all the more heartbreaking. Because when you see your sins in front of you as if they are laid out on a table, you are suddenly so aware of the sorrow you’ve inflicted, of the nails Jesus took for you on the cross because of these things, these things in front of you; and yet God does not strike us with lightning or accuse us. He simply says, “Be done with these things so that I can transform you and give you my peace and love.”

We will never be perfect. We will keep on sinning. We will keep on having to repent. But God’s love is truly unending and unconditional; not the way in which we understand those words, but in their true meaning, in their infinite sense. He is God. Let him break your heart so he can form a new one in its place.

Just Do It

I am the last person I would have expected to have this problem, but apparently I do, and as of today I am determined not to have it anymore.

Saying no.

A lot of people struggle with this, but with Christians there is the whole added element of spiritualizing everything. When people ask me to help them, to take part in something, etc, I struggle to say no. This is partly because I really do just struggle to say no, and partly because I forget to be realistic. If someone asks me something while I’m in a good mood and feeling energetic, I immediately say yes, forgetting about the three essays, the build up to exams, and the other commitments I have. Only later do I regret not thinking it through.

In any kind of church setup, it’s especially difficult because it’s God’s work so it must be good, right? If someone asks me something “it’s a sign” that I should do it. NOPE. Wrong answer. People’s expectations of you are different than God’s expectations, and surprisingly God’s are way easier to handle and deal with, because He wants what is best for us in the long run and He knows exactly what we’re up to and when.

I am currently on my couch after being sick all week long and I’m on antibiotics, resting by force because I didn’t take time to do it voluntarily, with no desire to see or talk to anyone except Jesus and my parents, because I took on too many things and had a miniature burn out. I am recovering in every sense; not because other people are jerks and loaded things onto me, but because I took too many things on myself that God never intended me to. Every person is different, too. I happen to be an introvert and need rather long periods of solitude, with no people, no Facebook, no communication period; just chilling with God, whether I’m doing “God things” or not. I need to recharge, and I haven’t been doing it.

God’s yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30). If your burden is heavy, something isn’t right. God never intended us to be crazed energizer bunnies running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. God is all about peace in the midst of chaos, about everlasting joy, about rest that is found in Him. Psalm 23, which I blogged about a while ago, is the most obvious passage about rest and peace (I should have taken my own advice, yes?).

You have your calling, both ultimately and daily, that God wants you to do, and that He’s given you the strength to do. You can’t take someone else’s calling on your shoulders simply because God didn’t give you the strength or tools you need to do it. You also can’t take on so many things that you’re stretched thin, because God, quite frankly, doesn’t do that to people. Even as I write this I feel nagging guilt about the things I’ll have to say no to in the future, but that isn’t from God either.

As I read this morning in Come Away My Beloved: “Do not be distressed by the misunderstanding of people. Let me take care of them Myself…As you give Me My rightful place and do not allow others to intrude, you will be at peace with Me.” This is between you and God. If people don’t understand it, or get offended, or make judgments about you because you obey God and not their expectations of you, that, frankly, is their problem. The people who love you should understand and if anything should be encouraging you with much cheering and confetti to make God and His expectations your priority even when it conflicts with theirs. God will sort it out; you do what He wants you to, and the rest will be history.